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Protesters Fight For $15 Outside Of GOP Debate In Miami

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- The fight for higher wages has hit the University of Miami ahead of the Republican debate for president.

Hundreds of Floridians broke through police lines Thursday evening as they marched through the school campus and to the front gate of the BankUnited Center, calling on candidates to support the millions of workers around the country who make less than $15 an hour.

Chanting "We work, we sweat, put $15 in our checks," the group is part of the Fight for $15.

The crowd forced police to shut down Ponce de Leon Avenue in front of the debate venue with signs that begged candidates to "Come get my vote."

Many of the protesters are low wage fast-food workers demanding a raise from the $8.05 minimum, and the right to unionize.

The fight for higher wages went well into the night. (Source: Hank Tester)

They weren't the only group out for the event, however.

"We want universal, affordable health care across the board," said Leanne Flake, a protester. "I represent the 64 million people who live in poverty here in the United States."

Black Lives Matter members showed up, as well immigration reformers, dreamers and the LGBT community. Even some Bernie Sanders supporters stopped by.

"Not one of them has said that they support free public college education for all the young people graduating from high school," said Victor Nieto, who stood holding a "Labor for Bernie" sign.

While hundreds watched the debate inside the venue, hundreds more stood outside. All hoped their message would resonate with the debaters on stage.

"I'm hoping that if they look out and see the crowd, they'll say, 'Oh wow, I want their vote.' So if they want our vote, they're gonna have to help us out," said Felicia Anderson.

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